Cough Variant Asthma is a Chronic Disease

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Cough-variant asthma (CVA) is a form of asthma. It is a chronic disease of the respiratory system. In contrast to classical asthma, the only symptom is a chronic, dry cough without the typical sign of asthma like shortness of breath or wheezing. In some cases CVA turns into classical asthma within some years. The causes of most forms of asthma are not fully understood yet. Practically all studies show that asthma is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Environmental factors can be a high pollution of the air, tobacco smoke, chemicals or cleaning agents. As an example, CVA can be caused by Beta-blockers that are used for the treatment of high blood pressure or heart failures. Also certain eye-drops contain beta-blockers which can cause CVA. 

Since the chronic dry cough is the only symptom in many cases, CVA is hard to diagnose. In order to confirm the diagnosis, several standard asthma tests are performed. In general, these tests are measuring the function of the lungs and the reaction on methacholine. That drug causes directly an asthmatic attack. An indirect proof of CVA is treatment-based. The patient is treated with a typical asthma medicament. If the treatment is working, the underlying condition can be assigned to CVA. 

The treatment of asthma and CVA contains a double-strategy. On one hand, there are the fast-acting drugs working on the acute symptoms. On the other hand, there are medicaments for the long-term control. The fast-acting drugs contain steroids or bronchodilators to relief the muscles of the wall of the airway system and make them less sensitive to a special asthma trigger. The best working anti-asthma drug is prednisone. But prednisone is a very aggressive drug with numerous side effects. When applied for a maximum time of two weeks, the side effects are reversible but with increased application, the risk for permanent damage of the body increases drastically. Therefore you need to consult your doctor regularly before you consider the usage of prednisone.

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